A Breakthrough in the Solar Energy Field

19 September 22

At the current state of the world with energy prices continuously soaring up, sustainable energy is the way forward. Wind and solar power are the two fastest-growing sources of renewable energy.

Although wind is currently more efficient than solar energy technology, it is not as cost effective. Wind energy does have a few drawbacks including wind reliability, possible threat to wildlife, and not all locations are viable to generating energy.

But the two biggest drawbacks are rather high set-up & maintenance costs and the exclusion of the retail sector. Anyone can mount solar panels on the roof of their house, but it would be much more difficult and expensive to put a wind turbine in your backyard.

Even though solar panels are probably the cheapest way of getting into producing renewable energy by yourself, in the U.S. it would still cost between $15,000 and $25,000 to buy and install.

Currently, most solar cells are silicon-based but researchers at Linköping University have managed to stabilize and increase the efficiency of perovskite solar cells, which were first introduced back in 1999. The cost of production of perovskite sollar cells is around 4 times cheaper than that of traditional thin-film photovoltaics.

Another advantage of using perovskite-based solar cells is its relatively light weight and flexibility, which makes it suitable for many applications.

When solar energy is converted into electricity in perovskite-based solar cells there is a need for additional layers that would transport the electricity charge. This material is described as “doped”. The scientists at Linköping University looked at transport layer called Spiro-OMeTAD as the benchmark for efficiency and stability. The main issue was that the method used to dope the layers was slow and, therefore, expensive. 

The researchers have now managed to eliminate the trade-off that has hindered development, using a new doping strategy.

It seems that these continuous developments in solar energy research will translate to cheaper renewable energy for everyone. This is welcome news in today’s world of high energy prices.

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